Two elite lightweights will look to settle the score on July 10th. Former interim titleholder Dustin Poirier hopes to make it two straight against former multi-weight champ Conor McGregor after their UFC 257 encounter. This tops off a card of stacked contenders fighting for the chance at breaking into superstardom. Amongst them is a pair of former welterweight title challengers in Gilbert Burns and Stephen Thompson, who will duke it out for another title opportunity.
Let’s take a closer look at this card!
(#1) Dustin Poirier (26-5, 1 NC) vs (#5) Conor McGregor (22-5) – lightweight bout
155lb rivals Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor will settle the score in a 5-round main event, set to deliver on all cylinders.
Having gotten revenge for his 2014 loss to McGregor, Dustin Poirier is riding into UFC 264 with all the momentum in the world. His fluid boxing has made him the undeniable number 1 contender at lightweight. His technique, coupled with undeniable heart, is what has led him to one of the most universally envied resumes in the sport. Now, before a potential matchup with champion Charles Oliveira, ‘The Diamond‘ is hoping to secure a second victory over McGregor.
Seeking a comeback from his shocking KO loss earlier this year, Conor McGregor is betting heavy on himself. Ireland’s fighting pride is confident that he has corrected the mistakes he made in his second outing with Poirier. Seemingly dead set on a violent stoppage, fans have seen McGregor grafting hard in the gym. With lightning-quick hands and KO power, ‘The Notorious‘ will always be a problem for whoever he steps into the Octagon with.
(#2) Gilbert Burns vs (#4) Stephen Thompson – welterweight bout
Top welterweight contenders Gilbert Burns and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson will look to add another W to their respective records when they fight in the co-headliner.
Riding into a title shot on a hot win-streak, including the likes of Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley, it seemed like Gilbert Burns was going to set the welterweight division on fire. Despite coming up short in his title bid against Kamaru Usman, he brought the fight to the champ early on, and expects to do more in a potential rematch. To get that fight, ‘Durinho‘ will have to use his patented BJJ game this weekend.
A perennial contender since 2016, Stephen Thompson has once entered himself into the title equation at 170lbs. The flashy striker has mounted a solid resume of wins in recent times, including Jorge Masvidal and Vicente Luque. In order to close in on a third title opportunity, ‘Wonderboy‘ will need to pick up a decisive win over Burns this weekend.
Tai Tuivasa (12-3) vs Greg Hardy (7-3, 1 NC) – heavyweight bout
Hard-hitting heavyweights Tai Tuivasa and Greg Hardy will slug it out in Saturday night’s featured bout.
A fan favourite since his debut in the UFC, Oceania’s Tai Tuivasa has made a name for himself through his power. The 12-3 prospect has already racked up wins over the likes of Andrei Arlovski and Stefan Struve. With his sights set on a third straight win, don’t blink when ‘Bam Bam‘ arrives.
Though a polarising figure to many, Greg Hardy has attracted many fans into watching his fights inside the Octagon. Despite only 11 professional fights on his pro record, the former NFL player has showed a natural talent for MMA. This weekend, ‘The Prince of War‘ looks to get back to win column by showcasing his booming explosiveness.
(#3) Irene Aldana (12-6) vs (#6) Yana Kunitskaya (14-5, 1 NC) – bantamweight bout
Top-10 bantamweights Irene Aldana and Yana Kunitskaya will look to edge closer to the title picture this Saturday.
Although a 5 round shutout against Holly Holm may have stifled his momentum, Mexico’s Irene Aldana remains one of the brightest prospects in her division. A mix of speed and power has led her to wins over the likes of Ketlen Vieira. A win this weekend could place her firmly back in the title picture.
Debuting for the UFC in a world title fight, Yana Kunitskaya has fought nothing but the cream of the crop since 2018. The Russian contender has gone 4-1 in her last 5, with notable wins over Julija Stoliarenko and Ketlen Vieira. Another win to her current run of form could place Kunitskaya in another title opportunity.
Sean O’Malley (13-1) vs Kris Moutinho (9-4) – bantamweight bout
Looking to make a big impression in his debut, Kris Moutinho will take on rising star Sean O’Malley in the main card opener.
Having only dropped a loss to Marlon Vera in 2020, Sean O’Malley has gone virtually (or mentally) unscathed in the UFC. His brash personality and high-action fighting style has drawn in many fans for the Arizona native. ‘Suga‘ will now look for his 14th career win with another emphatic KO.
With all the odds stacked against him, Kris Moutinho is looking to make a fuss in his UFC debut. The New England native has picked up wins on the regional circuit, but now feels ready to take on higher levels of competition. Moutinho is hoping to pick up a third straight finish over the megastar O’Malley this weekend.
Carlos Condit (32-13) vs Max Griffin (17-8) – welterweight bout
A pair of all-action veterans in Carlos Condit and Max Griffin will face off in the featured prelim this weekend.
Former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit doesn’t know what a boring fight is. The JacksonWink fighter is known for his unique striking techniques and high-volume style. A showcase on Fight Island against Matt Brown brings ‘NBK‘ into this matchup on the right track.
With power in his hands and hoping to add another W to his resume, Max Griffin is hoping for a finish this weekend. The former TPF champion has 11 stoppages in 17 wins, and is riding two straight wins. A win over a veteran like Condit could put ‘Pain‘ in place for another high-profile name.
Niko Price (14-4, 1 NC) vs Michel Pereira (25-11, 2 NC) – welterweight bout
All-out brawler Niko Price will take on flashy striking sensation Michel Pereira in a fight set to be one of the best of the year.
Quickly establishing himself as an action fighter, Niko Price has caught the eye of many fans since his debut. His KO power and explosive style mean he is always down to slug it out. For examples, look to his fights with Vicente Luque, Geoff Neal, Donald Cerrone and Tim Means. Expect the best of Price this weekend.
Much like his counterpart Price, Michel Pereira has a large following due to his fighting ability. The 6’1″ Brazilian is known for his unorthodox striking and physicality inside the ring. With a more refined – but equally effective – style in his last pair of outings, the most improved version of Pereira may be on display on Saturday.
Ryan Hall (8-1) vs Ilia Topuria (10-0) – featherweight bout
Two highly-touted featherweight prospects will look to advance up the ranks when Ryan Hall fights Ilia Topuria.
Though inactivity has plagued his career since 2015, Ryan Hall remains one of the most popular prospects at 145lbs. The BJJ ace is known for his killer leg-locks, but has shown much-improved striking also. With a well-rounded arsenal of attacks, a win could propel Hall into a big matchup later this year.
With the Georgian MMA invasion well underway, Ilia Topuria is hoping to break the top 15 at featherweight. His crisp boxing skills have made him a force to be reckoned with, and he’s expected to have them on full display again this weekend. This could be the name on his record to throw Topuria into the shark tank at 145lbs.
How do I watch UFC 264: Poirier vs McGregor 3?
In case you don’t know where to get the fights, VMTV have to covered!
If you’re in the US, you can purchase the card through ESPN+! The main card will start at 10pm on the East Coast, 7pm on the West Coast, with prelims at 6.15pm and 3.15pm.
If you’re in the UK/Ireland, you can purchase the card through BT Sport Box Office! The main card will start at 3am, with early prelims from 11.15pm.
Are you excited for this card? Which fight is the sleeper of the “sleeper” of the card? Let us know in the comments section below!
COPA COMBATE: Brackets Announced For One-Night Tournament, $100,000 on the line
Combate Global today announced the official brackets and first, or quarterfinal stage, matchups for its coveted “COPA COMBATE” one-night, eight-man, $100,000 grand prize bantamweight (135 pounds) tournament on Sunday, Dec. 12, live on Paramount+ from Miami, Fla.
Paramount+ live coverage of “COPA COMBATE” will begin with a pre-show at 9:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. CT, and will continue with the live fight action, beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/9:00 p.m. CT.
In one bracket, Carlos Briseño (13-2) of Mexico will face off with Cristian “El Scorpio” Barraza (7-3) of Chile, and Frans “The Zulu Irishman” Mlambo (10-5) of Ireland will battle Jose “The Mercenary” Zarauz (22-8-1) of Peru.
In the opposite bracket, Leo Muniz (6-1) of the U.S. will square off with Pierre “The French Hawaiian” Daguzan (6-5) of France, and Kevin Cordero (12-2) of Spain will collide with Luciano “El Aguila” Ramos (8-6) of Argentina.
The winners of the two quarterfinal bouts in each bracket will square off with each other in the semifinal stage of the tournament, and the two semifinal stage fight winners will face each other in the championship stage of action.
Carlos Briseño vs. Cristian Barraza
The 31-year-old Briseño of Mexico City holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and is a member of the Bonebreakers fight camp. He enters La Jaula, the Combate Global competition cage, on a two-fight win streak after earning a unanimous decision over Adam Martinez in what was Briseño’s Combate Global debut on October 1.
The 28-year-old Barraza of Santiago is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt who has notched all 7 of his professional career wins by way of submission. He is coming off of a first round (2:01) armbar submission of Mexico’s Diego Silva on October 22.
Frans Mlambo vs. Jose Zarauz
Mlambo, a 30-year-old protégé of famed trainer John Kavanagh and former International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) world championships gold medalist, will become the first fighter in history to represent Ireland in the “COPA COMBATE” tournament. To date, Mlambo has produced 8 of his 10 career wins via (T)KO or submission, and will enter “COPA COMBATE” on a two-fight win streak.
Fighting out of Lima, the 28-year-old Zarauz holds the most professional experience of any of the “COPA COMBATE” tournament entrants, and will enter La Jaula for the second time in 2021 after securing a unanimous decision win over Fernando Noriega in a regional event in Peru on July 17.
Leo Muniz vs. Pierre Daguzan
The 31-year-old Muniz is a resident of Tobyhanna, Pa. and a native of The Bronx, N.Y. He put together back-to-back victories over Team Alpha Male member Hector “El Matador” Fajardo on May 29 and August 13, respectively, to secure an entry to “COPA COMBATE.”
At 35 years of age, Daguzan, a native of Versailles, Yvelines and resident of Honolulu, Hawaii, is the eldest competitor in the tournament field. He holds a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and is coming off a unanimous decision win over Carlos Puente, Jr. in Combate Global action on July 16.
Kevin Cordero vs. Luciano Ramos
The 22-year-old Cordero of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, is the number one pound-for-pound rising star out of Spain, and the youngest of the eight tournament entrants. He has claimed 9 of his 12 professional wins via (T)KO or submission, including his last start and Combate Global debut on September 3, when he produced a first round (4:59) submission (triangle choke) of veteran battler Ricky Bandejas.
Ramos is a 25-year-old finisher who hails from Concordia, and who relocated to Stockton, Calif. last year in order to train with the team founded by famed MMA siblings Nick and Nate Diaz. Since making the leap to the Diaz camp, Ramos, who has achieved six of eight career wins by way of (T)KO or submission, has been victorious in both of his MMA bouts in 2021, most recently defeating Keilen Fantroy via first round (1:54) submission (triangle choke) on July 31.
In two previously announced women’s bouts that will be featured on the “COPA COMBATE” card in addition to the tournament, Criszaida Adames (5-1) will throw down with Caroline “Taz” Gallardo (5-4) at strawweight (115 pounds), while Lucero “La Loba” Acosta (2-2) will square off with Rosselyn Chavira (1-0) at flyweight (125 pounds).
The tournament will also be supported with two “reserve” bouts. Should any of the tournament’s quarterfinal stage winners be unable to continue his bid in the semifinal stage due to injury, the winner of one of the tournament reserve bouts will replace the injured winner in the tournament’s semifinal stage.
In one tournament reserve bout, Felipe “Pipe” Vargas (7-2) of San Jose, Calif. via Bogota, Colombia will take on unbeaten Diego “El Niño” Gomez Manzur (4-0) of Santiago, Chile and, in the second tournament reserve contest, Ricky Bandejas (14-6) of Brick, N.J. via Coconut Creek, Fla. will face Alan “Beche” Cantu (9-7) of Monterrey, N.L., Mexico.
Jose “Froggy” Estrada headlines Combate Global Dec. 3 show against Martin Bravo
Combate Global today announced a six-fight Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event, live on Paramount+ on Friday, Dec. 3 from Miami, Fla. In the featherweight (145 pounds) main event, hard-hitting American star Jose “Froggy” Estrada (7-2) will square off with The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 3 reality television series winner, Martin “El Toro” Bravo (12-3).
The 30-year-old Estrada of Oxnard, Calif. secured his career-best victory to date on July 2, defeating seasoned Nicaraguan star Leonardo “Chimmy” Morales by way of majority decision.
The result marked Estrada’s only victory to date that has gone to the judges’ scorecards. All six of his other wins have come via (T)KO or submission within two rounds of action.
Hailing from Rosarito, B.C., Mexico and fighting out of Newton, N.J. the 28-year-old Bravo made his Combate Global debut in 2021, scoring a first round (1:09) TKO (punches) on veteran Andrew “The Beast” Whitney on September 17.
In a featured strawweight (115 pounds) contest, Stephanie “Macaquinha” Frausto (8-8) of Dublin, Calif. will face Camila Rivarola (3-3-1) of Montevideo, Uruguay via Stockholm, Sweden.
The other featured main card bout will pit Tommy “The Spaniard” Aaron (9-5) of Los Angeles, Calif. against Ivan “Choko” Castillo (21-13) of Ensenada, B.C., Mexico at welterweight (170 pounds).
In preliminary card action, Jonathan Sepulveda (9-3) of Isabela, Puerto Rico will throw down with Adrian Garcia (6-1) of Miami, Fla. at a catchweight of 130 pounds.
“Slick” Rick Zelada (1-0) of Los Angeles will meet Gustavo “Volcan” Navarrete (0-1) of Chandler, Ariz. at bantamweight (135 pounds).
Elizabeth Avila (0-2) of Mexico City, Mexico will look for her first professional victory in an atomweight (105 pounds) fight against Tamika Jones (0-0) of Las Vegas, Nev.
Paramount+ live coverage will begin with a Combate Global pre-show at 10:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. CT, and will continue with the live fight action, beginning at 11:00 p.m. ET/10:00 p.m. CT.
Sergio Pettis looking to follow in his brother Anthony’s footsteps and earn two belts
Sergio Pettis won the Bellator Bantamweight World Championship belt opposite Juan Archuleta back in May. He will defend his belt for the first time against Kyoji Horiguchi at Bellator 272 on December 3rd.
The younger Pettis has big plans and wants to match his brother’s legacy. Anthony Pettis captured WEC and UFC in his long and storied career, but Sergio feels there is space on the mantel place for a belt from an Asian promotion (he spoke to MMA Fighting about the defense and his dreams).
“I think it would be a great opportunity for me to cross-promote,” Sergio Pettis said of an overseas move. “Anthony has a WEC belt and a UFC belt, and it would be awesome to have a Bellator belt and Rizin belt as well, to have all the belts in all the organizations – it would feel like a completion.”
Horiguchi has done some cross promotion with Bellator and actually took the belt from Darrion Caldwell before vacating and going back to Rizin. In Sergio’s eyes he holds the true belt because The Gooch injured his knee and could not defend the Bellator belt and by the time he healed up he was back in Rizin again. This is a welcome fight for Pettis who feels this fight will be the capturing of the true belt.
“I feel like the title in general is on the line. I think this is a fight where it’s really going to show who has the real championship in my division.”
The Rizin belt isn’t on the line, but Pettis does not rule some cross promotion at Flyweight or Bantamweight.
“It would be an honor to go overseas and get that opportunity,” he said. “But as of right now, my main focus is next week. I’m not looking ahead of Horiguchi at all. This is one of my toughest fights.”
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